Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

03/21/2018

Randall Caselman

 

Rescue Recovery Restoration

 

 Scripture is filled with our need for rescue, recovery, and restoration. Familiar narratives from the lips of Jesus tell us of a lost coin, lost sheep, and a prodigal son. The Good Samaritan prompts us to "go and do likewise." In Matthew twenty-five, Jesus indicates that the gates of Heaven are opened to those who serve Him by serving others: “As often as you do it to the least of these, you’ve done it to Me.” Then there are those interesting verses in Hebrews thirteen: “Keep on loving each other as brothers. Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it. Remember those suffering... And those who are ill-treated as if you yourselves were suffering.” Come, let’s see what we can learn...

 

We are all susceptible.

 

 We’re all in need of a helper, a healer, restorer: One who will come along beside us, pick us up, dust us off, mend our wounds, carry our burdens, nurse us back to wellbeing. Maybe we’ve had a collision with sin. Perhaps life has tumbled in: The loss of a loved one, loss of health, a ruptured relationship, perhaps someone has severely disappointed us. We need somebody who cares enough to come lift us up, put us back on the road; times when we all need to be searched for, found, carried, and welcomed back to the father's house.

 

 Paul wrote about rescue, recovery, restoration: "If someone is caught in sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently, watching yourselves, lest you be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Whether our burden is sin, or life’s circumstances, we're all susceptible.

 

 In his book, “Other Voices, Other Rooms,” Truman Capote tells of a dream about walking high above a rushing, boiling, murky river in the dark of night. He says “I felt I would never reach the other side. I felt that I would be forever suspended in midair, between land; in the dark, and alone. Then I felt the boards shake beneath my feet, and it reminded me that I was not alone. There was someone with me. Together we could go on." Haven’t we all been there? I shiver at the thought of having to go it alone in this world. It chills me to think of where I would be today had others not come to my rescue. I remember Ralph Terry: A family friend, brother, and Elder at Center Street church in Fayetteville. Georgia and I had quit going to Bible class, and we were missing some Sunday and Wednesday evening services. Ralph came one Sunday afternoon. I knew why he was there. He didn’t have to say anything. He just lifted us up, encouraged, loved us enough to rescue, recover, restore. Ralph helped us with our burdens, set us back on Heaven's road. Know this, we're all susceptible. We need a word of love, forgiveness, encouragement, perhaps a rebuke, a helping hand, a lift over the rough places. We just need someone to shake the boards, letting us know we are not alone. Amen?

 

We’re all called to work in rescue, recovery and restoration.

So, what does it take?

 

  We must be spiritual. "You who are spiritual should restore him." Paul doesn’t say restorers are to be perfect. Just because we are not perfect doesn't release us from the obligation of seeking and saving the lost, lifting up the fallen. Just because someone has sin in their life, doesn't mean that they cannot help us. Doctors, counselors Elders, preachers, and friends are not perfect, but that doesn't disqualify them from being great restorers, helpers, healers – Neither does it us! Neither does it us!

 

  We must be humble. "Watch yourself lest you be tempted." Are we above shedding tears with another, too self-righteous to carry a brother and his burdens, too proud to go looking for lost sheep, too lazy to sweep the floor, too good to go to the pig-pen in search of the wayward? Paul is saying, be careful, tomorrow it could be you!

 

  We must be gentle. "You who are spiritual should restore gently." Restoration can be painful! So, the restorer must be gentle. Spiritual people should always be gentle; it’s a part of their nature. Gentleness is a fruit of the Spirit, a result of God living in us.

 

• If we have an ugly mean spirit;

• If we are always critical, finding fault with others;

• If we have an itching ear and a loose tongue, listening to and passing on gossip;

• If we cannot keep a secret;

 

 We have no business in rescue, recovery, restoration work. Jesus is our example. It was said of Him: "He would not break a bruised reed. He would not quench a smoking flax.” Jesus was gentle. So must we be, so must we be.

 

  We must be ready for every opportunity “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Church, God has providentially brought some people into our circle of opportunity – Will we help?

 

  A restorer is persistent. “Let us not become weary in doing good.” Those involved in rescue, recovery, restoration must never give up. I know there are those some of you are trying to help restore someone right now. And I know you are tired:

• Tired of being used...

• Tired of the excuses....

• Tired of the manipulation...

• Tired of trying and trying and trying...

 But we must... Never... Never... Never... Give up.

 

 Are we in need? Have we been overtaken by some sin? Are we bewildered because life has fallen in and we’re in need of comfort, help, healing, restoration? Will we allow someone to help? Maybe God is using this article to providentially call you into the service of rescue, recovery, restoration.

 

—Randall Caselman